The E-Sylum v9#30, July 23, 2006
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Sun Jul 23 20:45:02 PDT 2006
Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 9, Number 30, July 23, 2006:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Among our recent subscribers (and re-subscribers) are Jordan Bell,
Bob Evans and Eric Li Cheung. Welcome aboard! We now have 946
This week we have some more suggested references on minting
technology, and a review of the new "Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold
Coins" by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth. We also learn about several
books which include actual numismatic items. There are a couple
things that aren't in this issue:
Regarding the latest California wildfires, numismatic literature
dealer George Kolbe writes: "I nearly sent a note for the big E
saying that all is well here, since a number of people have inquired.
Basically, the main fire at one time threatened the Big Bear
mountain area, 30 miles east. I believe the nearby Lake Arrowhead
fire is contained. A good source of local information is:
I didn't publish their replies, but I wanted to thank Paul DiMarzio,
John Isles and other for responding to Granvyl Hulse's query, published
last week in a more general article on Internet forums for general
numismatic questions. Paul writes: "Glad to finally be of some use
to this publication, although I think we're departing from the topic
of bibliomania :-) Maybe the point is that it takes quite a nice
reference library to collect and study Roman coins."
Back to what you'll find in this issue, we have answers to our query
about African-American signers of U.S. paper money, more from Dick
Hanscom on striking private gold tokens, an article on coins with
moving images, information on the sale of Superior Galleries, and
Howard A. Daniel III issues a call for a National Numismatic Museum.
To learn about Mazzulla brothel tokens and other numismatic items
relating to "ladies of doubtful reputation", read on. Have a great
Numismatic Bibliomania Society
BOOKS AND ARTICLES ON MINTING
Larry Gaye writes: "Regarding Jerold Roschwalb's request for books
on coin production, I found a wonderful book - it's called Coins
and Minting by Denis Cooper. Its published by Shire Publications,
Ltd, the ISBN # is 0-7478-0069-3 and set me back a whole $8.50.
It is an excellent little book that shows the manufacture of coins
from ancient to modern times including the technologies from hammer
and tong to screw presses and beyond. I recommend it highly as it
is very informative as well as inexpensive."
[I believe Roschwalb has this one he mentioned a brief pamphlet
by Denis Cooper, published by Shire in England that is very good.
But thanks for sending us more information on it - it sounds like
a great little reference we all should have handy. -Editor]
Steve Pellegrini writes: "When Dick Johnson recommended Ron Landis
as a contact for die engraving it reminded me that Mr. Landis wrote
an interesting essay titled, 'Hand Engraving and Die Sinking.' This
paper is included in volume 2 of 'The Medal in America', edited by
Alan Stahl. A couple of other references on die engraving can be
found in 'Ancient Methods of Coining' by George F. Hill, and in a
long article by Victor D. Brenner that appeared in 'The Numismatist'.
The Brenner piece is available in an old ANA offprint. I cannot give
more details about it because this very thin booklet is currently
hiding out in my library and will not be found until it is good and
ready to turn up."
Roger deWardt Lane, Hollywood, Florida writes: "Someone was asking
about the minting process - I remembered that I had an article from
Harpers Magazine on the subject on my old computer. Since it is best
to give you a URL for a link, I did a Google search on ' Harpers
Making Money' I found two articles copied from the Making of America
ebook project. I had not seen the first one, as my copy was only the
second article in the series.
Check it out for your self as it had very interesting information -
Go to the bottom of the list of articles to find the two Harpers
and what do you know - the next reference is to The E-Sylum!"
BOOK: CANADIAN MUNICIPAL TRADE TOKENS, VOLUME TWO PUBLISHED
Serge Pelletier sent us the press release for his latest book -
here are some excerpts:
"The second edition of Standard Catalogue of Canadian Municipal
Trade Tokens, Vol. 2 Alberta by Serge Pelletier, is now available
from the publisher.
The significant amount of 2005 issues and a strong market have all
contributed Pelletier replied when questioned as to the reasons
behind this new edition."
"The 142 page publication is letter size, spiral bound, with a card
cover and a transparent plastic protector. It list the some 465
municipal trade tokens of Alberta known to date, in all metal and
provides reference number, denomination, year, succinct description
of obverse and reverse, metal, mintage and value for each (no values
have been given for pure gold pieces)."
"A second version of the book contains a CD-ROM with an electronic
copy which features colour photographs. The electronic copy is in
pdf format. This will be a great tool for those who collect
according to a theme because it can be easily and quickly searched
These books are available directly from the publisher, Eligi
Consultants Inc. Box 11447, Station H, Ottawa, ON K2H 7V1 CANADA,
Tel: +1-613-823-3844, Fax: +1-613-825-3092, E-Mail: info at eligi.ca.
Standard Catalogue of Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens, Vol. 2 -
Alberta, Book only version (ISBN 0-9737777-0-2) is priced at $31.94,
post-paid for Canada, $29.20 for the United States and $42.45 for
Standard Catalogue of Canadian Municipal Trade Tokens, Vol. 2 -
Alberta, Book and CD version (ISBN 0-9737777-3-7) is priced at $41.24,
post-paid for Canada, $39.20 for the United States and $52.45 for
Formerly known as Canadian Trade Dollars, Canadian municipal trade
tokens are community coins sponsored by a local non-profit
organization and given legal monetary value in a specific area, for
a limited time, by the appropriate local authority. They are used
as money in normal commercial transaction during the period of
validity. These tokens have been issued, however, for commemorative
and fund raising purposes since 1958."
JAPANESE INVASION MONEY REFERENCES SOUGHT
Web site visitor Marcelo Pitta of Brazil wrote to inquire about
Arlie Slabuagh's booklet on Japanese Invasion Money. He adds "I'd
also like to know if there are Japanese Invasion Money catalogs by
I put my head together with Neil Shafer and compiled the following
reply for Marcelo. Does anyone know of any other references on
"A copy of the Slabaugh book is being sold in the August 8th auction
sale by Lake Books. See http://lakebooks.com/current.html, lot F53.
It is the 2nd edition of 1965. The estimate is $3.00
The book is outdated, but the only other work we know of on the
subject is Schwan-Boling's World War II Remembered, published in
1995. It covers not only Japanese Invasion Money but all the other
numismatic aspects of that conflict. The book is big and perhaps
considered expensive at $75."
OPINIONS ON DURST PUBLICATIONS PLATES
Frank Cornish writes "I just love the U.S. Draped Bust design, and
was introduced to it through acquiring two dollar pieces, so I've
been looking at all the denominations and found them rather expensive.
I'm primarily a gold collector, but finally decided to start learning
about cents and half cents, I have Breen's half cent book and noticed
the series of Sheldon's original and follow up Penny Whimsy's. I
recently purchased the Durst 1990 book (new) and I find the plates to
be so dark as to be useless. Is this typical? Or should I send the
book back? Are the other editions better?"
[I recall being at a coin show one time where a prominent numismatic
literature dealer was looking through a stack of recent purchases.
Coming across a Durst reprint, he reached in, ripped out the plates
and tore them to pieces. Durst reprints are probably fine for books
which are mostly texts, but the advice I've been given over the years
is that numismatists who require usable plates should look for original
editions or reprints from other publishers. I usually add to my library
just about any book on U.S. numismatics that I don't already have, but I
only have a few Durst publications. I don't know if the print quality
has improved in recent years, but from your description, perhaps not.
If you love books where you can actually see the coins pictured, the
next article is for you. -Editor]
BOOK REVIEW: GARRETT/GUTH ENCYCLOPEDIA OF U.S. GOLD COINS 1795-1933
This week I had the opportunity to spend some time with my copy
of the new book by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth, "Encyclopedia of U.S.
Gold Coins: 1795 - 1933, Circulating, Proof, Commemorative, and
Pattern Issues." Maybe you can't (or shouldn't) judge a book by
its cover, but I'll give high marks to the photographer and graphic
designer responsible for the gorgeous full-color cover featuring the
National Numismatic Collection's example of the 1849 pattern double
eagle. The lush illustrated cover and dust jacket provide a taste
of the numismatic eye-candy to be found within - glorious full-color
photos of virtually every U.S. gold coin struck within the period.
A collaborative production of the Smithsonian Institution and
Whitman Publishing, the book is based on an in-depth study of the
holdings of the National Numismatic Collection, together with the
authors' studies of the rare coin market, auction records and
population reports. The Smithsonian's Senior Curator of Numismatics,
Richard G. Doty, assisted with the project and wrote the book's
foreword, where he succinctly summarizes the need for a new book
on the topic:
"The only publication remotely comparable ... is a six-volume
compilation by David W. Akers, which appeared between 1975 and 1982.
Published by Paramount, Akers' works are valuable resources,
especially for their magisterial coverage of auction appearances
and grades. But they had the misfortune of appearing just prior
to the beginning of a dramatic rise in the rescuing of early
shipwrecks and their precious cargoes - American gold coins,
especially those from Western mints. Inevitably, we have gathered
much information from these finds which was simply unavailable to
earlier scholars including David Akers. Moreover, the photographs
that appeared in Akers' six volumes, while excellent, were also
limited.... Tom Mulvaney's splendid photographs make a unique
contribution of their own. From personal experience, I know that
gold is extremely difficult to capture. Tom is perhaps the best
numismatic photographer we have."
Doty's foreword is followed by an appreciation by Akers himself,
who discusses Walter Breen's pioneering 1960s monographs on U.S.
gold and his own series of books. Akers writes, "Fortunately for
those of us who prize numismatic references, we are now living in
the 'golden age' of such books... it is not an exaggeration to say
that it is destined to be the numismatic reference work I will
reach for more often than just about any other, and I think it
should be a part of every numismatic library."
The credits and acknowledgements attest to the authors' efforts
in compiling and organizing this volume - over seventy individuals,
companies and institutions were consulted. The bibliography lists
thirty references - all books but one (Ron Guth's CoinFacts.com).
As a bibliophile I would have liked to see even more, especially
periodical references. I would have been ecstatic to see multiple
references to manuscripts, archival material and other less
accessible resources. Perhaps these were consulted as well but
left out for space reasons.
However, the references cited indicate what this book is and what
it is not. The appendices list thousands of auctions and
certification service reports. The entries, while far from uniform
in content, are limited to just one paragraph each, an obvious
problem for issues such as the 1933 double eagle - two complete
books have already been written about this issue alone. The entries
often cite specific examples from collections or auction sales.
Each entry also includes summary tables of retail values, auction
appearances and population data.
What the book is however, is a great one-stop shop for all the
pertinent commercial data on any given coin. What the book is not,
is an in-depth study of the economic and legislative background of
the coinage, or the artists and engravers who created them. If that's
what you're looking for, this book is not for you - that kind of
information is found only in the book's 12-page overview of U.S.
gold coinage and the introductory pages at the beginning of each
denomination section discussing designers, specifications,
historical background, etc.
Although not a book for everyone, I'll side with Akers and make
room for this beautiful volume in my library. Many thanks to the
authors and publishers for creating this monumental work. The list
price is $69.95, but as of this writing it retails for $44.07 on
Amazon.com. For bibliophiles, a limited leather edition (500 copies)
is available from Whitman for $99.95. Each is individually numbered
and signed by the authors. Those prices are a bargain for this
Hardcover: 636 pages
Publisher: Whitman Publishing (June 15, 2006)
Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 8.8 x 11.0 inches
Shipping Weight: 4.68 pounds
WHITMAN PUBLICATIONS BUILDING AND OPERATIONS PHOTOS SOUGHT
Dave Lange writes: "In my ongoing research into the coin board
story, I'm looking for photos and other good quality illustrations
of the buildings or operations at Whitman Publications and its
parent company, Western Printing & Lithography. Anyone having
materials of this sort is asked to contact me at Dlange at NGCcoin.com."
FOOD STAMP CHANGE NEWSLETTER INFORMATION SOUGHT
Rod Charleton II writes: "Here's an off the wall question that
should stretch everyone's memory. Do you or anyone on the E-Sylum
list know how many issues of the Food Stamp Change Newsletter were
published by Jerry F. Schimmel during the 1980's?
I recently purchased the first 13 issues along with two supplement
publications. New York State Food Stamp Tokens (1982) and Iowa
Food Stamp Tokens (1983). The first issue is dated April 1980 and
the last issue, #13, is dated April 1983. Per the newsletter, these
were published 4 times per year, January, April, July, and October.
I'm very interested in completing the collection for both research
reasons and to have a complete set.
There's a lot of good info in these newsletters including some
very interesting ads. Too bad you can't go back in time and reply
to those ads.
I've hit the internet and wasn't able to find any information on
these newsletters in any shape or form. If you or anyone else knows
of where I can get any additional issues or additional supplements
I'm missing, please let me know. My email address is
rod at depressionscrip.com."
[Great question - you've got me stumped. Readers? -Editor]
CUSTOM BOOKPLATE SUGGESTIONS SOUGHT
Fred Reed writes: "Several weeks ago I asked for suggestions from
list members on purchasing custom made book plates for my rather
large library. Nary a peep from anyone down line. I just can't
believe that nobody among this thousand-member list uses custom
made archival bookplates for their collections. If anyone has any
ideas for me on this matter please e-mail me at freed3 at airmail.net."
[Believe it or not, we havent had much discussion on the topic
in the past. Here are links to a few articles I found in our
archives, and links to a couple commercial bookplate websites.
Suggestions, readers? -Editor]
ART OF THE BOOKPLATE
Google ads on our web site included links to these commercial sites:
EXHIBITS SLATED FOR DENVER
Alan V. Weinberg writes: "Both I and Bob Rhue will have non-competitive
exhibits at the forthcoming Denver ANA. Bob will exhibit his splendid
collection of selected Hawaiian Plantation tokens. And I will exhibit
selected Coloradoiana including what must be the finest collection
ever formed of Colorado good- for- trade pocket mirrors which absorbed
Jim Wright's collection (once featured in a TAMS publication) and Merlin
Bondhus' collection, added to what I personally collected over the
decades. Many of these extremely rare or unique advertising mirrors were
issued by Colorado saloons circa 1900 and depicted scantily clad ladies
of doubtful reputation who plied their wares upstairs in the saloons."
SMALLER PRINT RUNS FOR NUMISMATIC BOOKS?
Do the trends in philatelic literature reflect those in numismatic
literature? He number of new numismatic books has been on the rise,
although I don't know about how print runs are trending. Leonard
Hartmann, the Louisville, Ky dealer in literature for the stamp
hobby writes in his Philatelic Bibliopole Newsletter #143:
"One unfortunate trend in serious philately is that books are being
issued in even smaller quantities than in the past and may go out
of print shortly after the reviews appear. We do not like this for
the hobby and will never suggest anyone should buy a book for it's
appreciation but only for the knowledge that one is to gain. A book
often goes up in price when it goes out of print but then over a
number of years it will go down as the market adjusts and new works
on the subject appear."
CHICAGO COIN CLUB CHATTER AND CLUB GIVEAWAYS
As part of our discussion of books containing gold samples, last
Week Denis Loring noted: "The 93rd issue of the newsletter of the
Chicago Coin Club is entitled "Gold Dust Currency," and a small
sample of gold dust is attached!"
Bob Leonard writes: "While the Chicago Coin Club appreciates the
publicity, for the sake of accurate bibliographic reference I must
make the following correction. The monthly magazine (or newsletter,
I suppose, though it has a cover and is saddle-stitched), is called
the Chicago Coin Club Chatter. The current issue, July 2006, is
Volume 52, No. 7.
What Denis Loring is referring to is an entirely separate publication,
which we refer to as a "giveaway" (it has no title), since we give it
away to every one who attends our meeting at the annual Chicago
International Coin Fair (CICF). In 1987, we gave out elongated cents.
The next year, it was five elongated U.S. and world coins mounted in a
plastic strip and stapled to a card punched to fit in a three-ring
binder. In 1989, we switched to an example of Odd & Curious Money
(starting with leather money, in the form of an embossed token) mounted
to a similar punched card, now four pages, with an original article
giving the history of leather money.
This started a tradition that has continued to 2006 ("Mexican Chocolate
Money"). On the occasion of the club's one-thousandth meeting, April 6,
2002, the article covered "Gold Dust Currency" and was accompanied by a
small sample of real gold dust (obtained for the club by NBS member Bill
Burd) in a dime-size Cointain inside a mini-flip. (We did not consider
mounting these under mica, but I was annoyed to discover that Cointains
are not made for smaller coins like three-cent pieces or gold dollars,
as the small sample really rattles around in the holder.) Carl Wolf,
our facilitator from the start, outdid himself in obtaining gold-colored
card with sparkling mica (yes, it does have SOME mica) so that the card
itself looks like it is covered with gold dust. We made 150 of these
and sold the remainders for $5.00 each, but they are all gone now.
[I think Denis must have giveaway no. 93--they are all serially-numbered
--which led him to think that that was a sequence number.]
OTHER BOOKS WITH NUMISMATIC INSERTS
Alan V. Weinberg writes: "As to the Eckfeldt-DuBois book containing
gold nuggets in a cover insert, the only other American book I've
seen to have a similar insert is an old book currency dealer Lou
Rasera once showed me: an approx 8" x 11" Massachusetts colonial
currency book with an Ex. Fine large planchet Pine Tree shilling
Noe 1 variety encased in a clear plastic capsule inserted inserted
in an as-made 1 1/2" round hole in the actual cover. I recall that
opening the book cover you could see the reverse dated side of the
shilling. One of my collecting specialties since high school (I'm
62) has been Mass colonial silver coinage...but not copper or paper."
Is anyone familiar with the book Alan describes?
At least one U.S. colonial currency book includes examples of actual
notes (I have one of these in my library): Potter, Elisha R. & Rider,
Sidney S. Some Account of the Bills of Credit or Paper Money of
Rhode Island, from the First Issue in 1710, to the Final Issue, 1786
with twenty illustrations. Providence: Rhode Island Historical Tracts
No. 8, 1880. (thanks to George Kolbe for the citation).
The 1989 book, "Trade Tokens of British and American Booksellers &
Bookmakers," compiled and edited by Henry Morris at the Bird & Bull
Press, included a set of new tokens representing twelve leading book
dealers, including George Frederick Kolbe / Fine Numismatic Books.
Kolbe also inserted examples of his token in deluxe copies of his
sale 44 catalog in 1990.
There are at least two books produced with a medal bound inside.
Both were issued by Robert Hewitt Jr. for the Lincoln Centennial
in 1909. See the following E-Sylum articles for more information:
THE LINCOLN CENTENNIAL MEDAL
MEDALS IN BOOKS LED TO TWO ART MEDAL SERIES
George Kolbe adds: "As to "other books with numismatic inserts,"
the list would be long, with many unique volumes, and a number of
limited edition runs. There's even one in my October 19th sale: a
deluxe edition of the Mazzulla brothel token book with a "Good for
One Screw" token mounted on the front cover. I believe there are
books all the way back to the 1500s, and earlier in the case of
manuscript books, with ancient coins or medallions incorporated
into their bindings."
BOOKSELLER BOOK'S TOKEN DIES FOR SALE
Since we've recently discussed coin dies, I thought I'd note
that the original dies used in the production of the bookseller
tokens from the Bird & Bull Press book mentioned above are available
for sale. The following is taken from the seller's web site:
"Bird & Bull Press (not published) Newtown, PA 1988 box measures
12 x 9 x 6 inches, mahogany box with token inset on top cover,
along with metal plate inscribed as "ORIGINAL DIES FOR BOOKSELLER'S
TOKENS...BIRD & BULL PRESS".
A set of original dies and other items involved in the production
of "Trade Tokens of British and American Booksellers & Bookmakers,"
compiled and edited by Henry Morris at the Bird & Bull Press, 1989,
in an edition limited to 300 copies. Morris has also written a 3-page
hand-written letter, "Everything one might want to know about the
dies for Booksellers' Tokens," with excerpts quoted below.
The participants, whose tokens are included here, are: Bird & Bull
Press, The Book Press, Dawson's Book Shop, Detering Book Gallery,
Enterprise Books, Joseph J. Felcone, Kater-Crafts Bookbinders,
George Frederick Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books, G.T. Mandl (English
papermakers), Iris Nevins (marbler), and Oak Knoll Books; the
tokens (w/9 duplicates), along with a rough flan, were made under
the supervision of Meyer Katz at the Unity Mint in Ambler, PA, from
dies engraved by Kenneth Douglas at the Green Duck Co., in Olive
Branch, MS. The set of 11tool-steel dies (22 pieces), now coated
with a protective lacquer, cost Morris $9800 in 1988, which he
considered a bargain..."
To read the complete description, see:
MORE ON THE CARSON CITY MINT DIE DISCOVERY
Regarding the dies dug up on the grounds of the old Carson City
Mint, Eric von Klinger of Coin World writes: "The initial discovery
of more than 90 dies was made in January 1999. Staff Writer Paul
Gilkes reported on it in the March 22, 1999 issue of Coin World.
I wrote a follow-up, on further finds and preservation efforts, in
the Nov.10, 2003 issue. There have been periodic reports in the
publications of the Nevada State Museum. Lane Brunner, now with the
ANA, found an 1876 20-cent die among those that had been dug up, but
it was too deteriorated to tell whether it had the doubling of
LIBERTY characteristic of the die used to strike known 1876-CC
Hal Dunn writes: "The information provided last week on the Carson
City Coin dies is pretty complete. The location of the burial of
the dies was north of the mint building. Formerly a parking lot,
it is now developed as a small plaza between the mint building and
the old First National Bank of Nevada building, which has been
incorporated into the museum complex. Had it not been for this
development, the dies might never have been found.
I have seen a number of these dies and some lead impressions made
of the reverses of a double eagle and a quarter. Ken Hopple, the
museums coiner and operator of Coin Press #1, has attempted to
restore some of the better dies, at least so they are identifiable.
Unfortunately, some are now no more than blobs of rusted metal."
CALL FOR A NATIONAL NUMISMATIC MUSEUM
Howard A. Daniel III writes: "I read the item about the Smithsonian
with alarm. I have known of their situation for many years, and I
have been suggesting to anyone who will listen or read, that we need
a National Numismatic Museum (NNM) for the National Numismatic
The National Philatelic Museum is a fantastic operation, and the
NNM should copy it in many ways. And the NNM might even be able
to find a location in the same building next to Union Station!
If you think there should be a NNM, please write to your Senator
and Representative and ask them to create a bill to have an NNM.
There are thousands, if not tens of thousands, of pieces in the
collection that are not cataloged anywhere! It is absolutely
amazing what is in the NNC! Researchers and writers could do
research on the collection at the NNM, and publish it with a small
percentage of the profits coming back to the NNM. NBS members
could donate copies of their publications to the gift shop, or at
least, at a deep discount to it. And duplicates from your library
could be donated for a tax deduction and sold in a part of the
That is enough here now, but if you want to see the NNC come into
its own, and to make it available to all numismatists and the public,
please work on your Senator and Representative for a NNM. There are
some laws that need changing in the bill to make it happen, but it
can be done, with some support and guidance to our lawmakers. You
will hear and read some negative replies to the NNM, but ignore them,
there are ALWAYS people who fear succeeding at everything!"
[The U.S. Mint HQ in D.C. was built with the first floor as a planned
museum space, but that didn't happen. I was in the old Post Office
building next to Union Station recently, but it was after hours.
I've never been to the NPM, but the building is beautiful and would
be a great location. -Editor]
AFRICAN-AMERICAN SIGNERS OF U.S. CURRENCY
Michele Orzano, Associate Editor of Coin World's Paper Money Values
writes: "In response to the request for information about whether
there were any other African American signers of American currency,
the answer is a resounding yes. In addition to Blanche Bruce, the
names of Judson W. Lyons, William T. Vernon, James C. Napier and Azie
Taylor Morton can be found on U.S. paper money.
There's a story about the four others in Volume 1, Number 1 of Coin
World's Paper Money Values magazine published in the fall of 2005.
There's actually five others but shortly after Louis B. Toomer was
appointed to the position of Register of the Treasury, the register's
signature was no longer used."
Julian Leidman forwarded the following list of African-American signers
and their dates of office, including National Bank Notes with known
Registers of the Treasury
Blanche K. Bruce 5/21/81-6/5/85 & 12/3/97-5/17/98
Judson W. Lyons 4/7/98-4/1/06
William T. Vernon 6/12/06-3/14/11
James C. Napier 8/15/11-9/30/13
Treasurer of the US
Azie Taylor Morton 9/12/77-1/20/81
Black Owned National Banks
Douglas National Bank of Chicago (Charter #12227)
11/4/21-5/21/32 large & small
Dunbar National Bank of New York (Charter #13237)
8/28-5/31/38 large & small
Benny Bolin writes: "As far as African American signers, James
Carroll Napier, register of the treasury from 3/15/1911-9/30/1913
and the first African American to preside over the Nashville city
council was a signer. I know him best as an autographer of
fractional currency (see my article in the current issue of
THE GAMBIA REDESIGNS BANKNOTES
"As part of continuing efforts to improve the security, durability
and aesthetic quality of The Gambias banknotes, the Central Bank
of The Gambia has introduced a new design legal tender banknotes,
with effect from Thursday, July 27.
In a press release signed by the Governor of The Central Bank,
according to the demands of the international best practice, Central
Banks introduce significant banknote design and security feature
changes every six to eight years. The Gambias banknote design
upgrade was postponed because of the scheduled implementation of
the monetary union in the West African Monetary Zone by July 2005,
and the planned eventual introduction of a single currency for
However, in May 2005, the deadline for the launch of monetary
union was rescheduled to December 2009, and since then the Central
Bank has been collaborating with its banknote printers, De La Rue
Currency, to upgrade The Gambias banknotes."
"The security features of the D100 would also be upgraded by the
inclusion of a silver foil on the front of the note, with the
image of D100 embossed into the foil."
To read the complete article, see:
PERTH MINT PRODUCES COMMEMORATIVE INCORPORATING MOVING IMAGES
The Perth Mint of Western Australia announced an interesting
commemorative coin incorporating moving images:
"A square coin styled on an early television set, complete with
moving images, has been released by The Perth Mint as a tribute
to 50 years of Australian television.
Struck from 1oz of 99.9 per cent pure silver in proof quality
and issued as Australian legal tender, the 50 Years of Australian
Television 1956-2006 coin features "lenticular'' imaging effects
to portray six television icons from the past 50 years of
The Perth Mint is the only mint in the world to issue legal tender
coins displaying 'moving' lenticular images. Two previous lenticular
issues, the 35th Anniversary of the First Moon Walk and the 60th
Anniversary of the End of World War II 1945-2005, became collector's
"As the coin is moved, the images 'morph' miraculously from one
to another in a sequence portraying some of the most memorable
personalities and productions in Australian television history."
To read the complete article, see:
[Have any of our readers seen these coins? Is the Perth Mint truly
the first to produce coins using lenticular images? (We've seen
earlier mentions of banknotes with such a feature). The process
has been around for decades. At least one token and medal manufacturer
uses them (scroll down to item #6:
Here's a tutorial I found on the subject of lenticular images:
"When looking at a lenticular image, as your angle or view changes
you see first one image and then another. If you use enough images,
you can actually create a short video-like sequence.
Lenticular images have come a long way since their early days. It's
now possible to carry a short 1-second "video" in your pocket, or
hang it on the wall. As you turn a lenticular image in your hand, or
walk by a large one on the counter or wall, the image seems to come
to life. Depending on how the underlying photographs were taken,
lenticular images can convey the illusion of 3D and/or video motion."
BEP CURRENCY ENGRAVER CHRISTOPHER MADDEN PROFILED
The Dayton Daily news published a nice article this week about
the city native who work for the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and
"When Christopher D. Madden sits down to engrave the images
emblazoned on the nation's cash, he sits between centuries of
tradition and the promise of technology.
On one side of him are steel-edged tools, steel plates, aged
magnifying glasses and antiquated equipment that Madden uses
to painstakingly engrave pictures of presidents and luminaries,
federal buildings and their environs.
On the other side are two computers, set side-by-side. With those,
he uses a proprietary program to add dashes and lines to a currency
design to make that currency harder to counterfeit and easier to
For years, Madden was told he was part of a dying breed the master
craftsmen who spend 10 years in apprenticeship, learning the fine,
detailed art of faithfully etching images into steel.
Now, the bureau has plans to hire two new apprentices in the coming
"Reminders of the past shape Madden's work.
He keeps on his desk an album of some of the great engravings done
at the office detailed, elegant work by artists history has
forgotten. Madden often flips through the book to study how others
handled particular challenges.
Next to that book, Madden keeps a photo album of the artists
sometimes imperious-looking men in black-and-white photos who toiled
to create the art people handle casually each day."
"Reminders of his grandfather's coal mining trade linger, as well.
For many years, others in the engraving bureau used cyanide to help
make the plates for the currency. And just like workers in coal mines,
they used live canaries to determine the safety of their work
Now, safer methods are used and the office canaries are simply
"He was the bureau's last apprentice until this newest crop. An
elder engraver frequently told Madden he was a dying breed.
"I'm going to try not to say that to the next generation," Madden
said. "This job will stay around in some form, and there's always
going to be an appreciation for the American masters who came
To read the complete article, see:
[I don't recall reading about the use of cyanide and the tradition
of canaries at the BEP. Has anyone else heard of this before? Do
I need to go back and read my BEP history books? -Editor]
1792 CENT TRADES HANDS
The Associated Press published an article July 21 about the resale
of 1792 cent by a West Palm Beach E-Sylum subscriber.
"Denis Loring and Donna Levin, of Singer Island, reaped a windfall
from a copper 1792 penny the couple bought last year at a Beverly
Hills auction for $437,000.
Two months ago, the penny sold for a whopping $660,000 to "an East
Coast energy company executive" who wished to remain anonymous, said
Greg Rohan, president of Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries,
which arranged the transaction. The couple took home $600,000.
Heritage made a $60,000 commission.
The coin had originally been owned by descendants of Oliver Wolcott,
a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Connecticut's governor
in the 1790s, Rohan said. It had been kept for decades in an old
The chocolate-colored rare coin, one of only nine known to exist,
bears the date 1792, the inscription "Parent of Science & Indust:
Liberty," and the likeness of a woman's head representing "Miss
"As silly as it sounds, coins like this, you don't really ever own.
You get to be a custodian," Loring said Friday. "It was here long
before I was here, and it will be here long after I'm gone."
To read the complete article, see
WHAT TO CALL PEOPLE WHO MUTILATE COIN CATALOGUES
Last week Fred Lake asked: "Is someone who cuts pictures from a
coin catalog a "bibliocast" or a "biblioclast?" I have heard both
used. I like biblioclast as in "iconoclast." I'm looking forward
to hearing from all of your correspondents."
Alan Luedeking writes: "I call them idiots."
Howard A. Daniel III writes: "The item from Fred Lake about
mutilating coin catalogs brought back a bad memory for me.
After I retired (for the first time) from the Army in early 1981,
I immediately went to the Library of Congress (LOC) on my first
civilian Saturday morning. I walked around the central area and
slowly found my way to the South Asia section, which has the Southeast
Asia publications under it.
I found a small group of men working on cataloging stacks of books
from "my" part of the world and greeted them. They were somewhat
indifferent to me but courteous. I explained to them that I want
to start looking for every book in the LOC with anything to do with
Southeast Asian numismatics. Some eyes started rolling, and one
of them directed me to the index card file.
As I found something of interest, I submitted my request form(s)
at a central desk, and about 30 minutes later, they arrived at the
desk and I was paged. I went through them at a public table, and
photocopied the pages.
After a few Saturdays, I realized not every reference was in the
index cards. At about the same time, one of the men in the South
Asia section, realized I was serious, and offered me a researcher's
desk and shelving in a research room. I could keep my references
until I was through with them instead of returning them at the end
of my Saturday of research, even when I was not through with them!
This really sped up my research!
After a couple of more Saturdays, I was presented with a stacks
pass, and I could go into the library and search for the references
myself! This was like a pass to heaven!!! I started at A and
worked to Z! It only took about two years, and I came out with a
little over 5000 photocopied pages. This was a time of 5 Cents
per page, and not the higher prices of today! I have tried to
replace every photocopied page with the original and I have been
about 70% successful.
It was a great time, but one of my nightmares was coming across
references with the plate pages VERY nicely cut out with a razor
blade! It made me sick enough to know someone destroyed a
reference book, but it was also not theirs and it was preventing
future researchers the use of the plates!
I pointed them out to my mentor, and he did some research and he
found one name was common for all of the mutilated references!
And I knew him, and I knew him to be a jerk too. His name was
put on their list of people banned from using the library. I do
not know if he returned to the LOC, but if so, I would have loved
to have seen his face when he was thrown out of the place!
My mentor was and is Dr. Will Tuchrello. He is now the head of
the Southeast Asia office in Jakarta, Indonesia. His wife Anita
Hibler is also a friend and recently published a book about Siam's
(Thailand's) offer of elephants to President Lincoln for the Civil
SUPERIOR GALLERIES SOLD
We recently discussed Superior Galleries' announcement that its
numismatic library would be made available to the public. Now
the company itself has been made available -- for sale, to another
According to a press release, "On Monday, DGSE Companies Inc., a
wholesaler and retailer of Jewelry and rare coin products, revealed
that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Superior
Galleries Inc. for $14 million. The company said that, the acquisition,
by purchasing all outstanding shares of Superior, will diversify
Superior's product lines and achieve cost efficiencies. The transaction
is expected to close late in October 2006.
The Dallas, Texas based company stated that Superior's current facility
would provide the combined entity with a Beverly Hills, California
location to expand DGSE's jewelry, diamond and fine watch businesses."
"DGSE said that its present management would manage all operations of the
combined entity and expects all staff of Superior to continue."
To read the complete press release, see:
[So who or what is DSGE? According to Federal filings, "DGSE Companies,
Inc. wholesales and retails jewelry, diamonds, fine watches and precious
metal bullion products and rare coins to domestic and international
customers through its Dallas Gold and Silver Exchange and Charleston
Gold and Diamond Exchange subsidiaries and well as through the internet.
DGSE also owns Fairchild International, Inc., one of the largest
vintage watch wholesalers in the country."
Based in Dallas, the company grew out of Silverman Consultants, a
jewelry liquidation company. The company reported $35M in sales in
2005. L. S. Smith is listed as CEO and William H. Oyster as COO.
AUSTRALIAN'S GALLIPOLI VICTORIA CROSS TO BE AUCTIONED
Victoria Cross fever continues. According to a report, "A rare
Victoria Cross from the Gallipoli campaign is set to break auction
records when it goes under the hammer next week.
The last of nine medals awarded to Australians who fought in the
First World War campaign still in private hands, it was awarded to
Captain Alfred John Shout, the most decorated soldier with the
Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
His collection of medals, including the Victoria Cross are expected
to sell for between £500,000AUD (Australian dollars) and $1mAUD
(£200,000 to £400,000).
The current record for the sale of a Victoria Cross is £235,250
"Tim Goodman, the CEO of Bonhams & Goodmans who are auctioning
the medal said: "Interest in such medals continues to rise. There
are more buyers emerging locally and internationally that we expected."
"Captain Shout fought in the Boer war and later migrated to
Australia with his wife and daughter in 1905. He is said to have
lived in Darlington, Sydney where he worked as a carpenter.
The-then Lieutenant Shout led a bayonet charge into unknown
territory facing continual machine gun fire from the Turks two
days after landing at Anzac cove in April 1915."
To read the complete article, see:
MORE ON GOLD TOKEN STRIKING
Dick Hanscom writes: "I would like to thank Dick Johnson for the
information he provided, but part of his reply was a little
off-subject as far as my gold problem goes. My problem is that
when I melt the gold and pour into an ingot, and then try to roll
it to the thickness I need (.6mm), sometimes the gold is porous
or brittle, and cracks before I can put it through the rolling mill
more than a few times. Even when rolling thinner just the tiniest
bit, it will flatten only a little before cracking.
The opinions I have received to this problem lean to impurities
in the raw gold. I am looking into how to solve this problem,
either by melting and using a flux to remove the impurities, or
adding a bit of copper to bind the gold. If all this fails, the
gold will be sold to a refiner and I will purchase more raw gold
and try again (I have purchased and melted enough raw gold to make
70+ 1 DWT tokens, so not all raw gold has this problem). Results
can be seen at:
The dies for this token were cut by Charles Arceneaux.
As for softening after punching out the blanks and striking, I do
that. The first batch of Nome gold rolled out with no problem to
.6mm so that I could punch out blanks. I counterstamped an "N"
on the blanks before striking. I struck one, and it was too hard.
Even just the small "N" counterstamp hardened the blanks. So I
softened the blanks again and the tokens struck just fine.
The information on hardening and softening steel was very interesting
and I guess I will have to look into this when I get further along.
I did find a site by Steve G. Adams on die engraving that gives
basic information: http://www.sga-sculpture-engraving.com/ It does
not tell you "how to", but I have emailed and received some
information to get me started.
While I agree that I would not pull my own teeth, I also would not
do that for entertainment or the learning experience. All I have
to lose is a little time and a little money. When my dies are
absolutely useless, I can still have some one cut two that will
meet my needs."
GREEK VS ROMAN FOOT STYLE: WHICH FOOT IS FORWARD ON THE LINCOLN STATUE?
Dick Johnson writes: "You wont be able to see it on the reverse
of the Lincoln cent or the five-dollar bill but there is symbolism
in which foot is forward on the seated Lincoln statue in the Lincoln
Memorial. It seems if the left foot is forward it is Greek symbolism,
if right foot it is Roman symbolism.
Now I wouldnt have known this until I read an article forwarded by
my son to carefully study. He knows how interested I am in numismatic
symbolism. I learned something from this article.
It seems an Ohio dealer in art and manuscripts, Bruce Ferrini, has
fallen on hard times and his estate is being sold to satisfy his
creditors. One of his assets is the Daniel Chester French statue of
"The Minute Man." The "which foot forward" was mentioned in this article.
In fact, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter, Karen Farkas, made this
the lead item.
Apparently she thought it would be a so-so story just to relate the
bank is foreclosing on the poor guys home. But bringing Lincoln into
the story adds interest. She was right.
For booklovers, the guys library of 600 boxes of reference books
must be sold as well. "They will be sold on eBay by the auction houses
Sotheby's or Christie's or to museums or libraries," a spokesman said.
That doesnt sound like very firm plans yet.
If you are interested heres the path to the article:
[QUIZ QUIZ: Abe Lincoln does the hokey-pokey! So, all you
smartypants numismatists out there - which foot is forward?
(no fair peeking at the article)! -Editor]
FEATURED WEB SITE: NATIONAL NUMISMATIC COLLECTION
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at the Smithsonian Institution. Be sure to check out the virtual
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